Earl Watson Named Phoenix Suns Head Coach

Earl Watson got a promotion! (Jennifer Stewart/USA TODAY Sports)

The most exciting day for an interim coach…when that uncertain tag is removed from his/her title. Today, Earl Watson’s resume is updated to reflect his new standing as Phoenix’s general moving forward.

Though that’s a complicated way to express Watson is the next head coach, the Suns’ search for a “new” leader was anything but – GM Ryan McDonough targeted Watson from the jump and praised his leadership despite Phoenix dropping 15 of 24 games after firing Jeff Hornacek.

Watson is an intriguing voice moving forward, for a couple of reasons:

  • Youth: Now the league’s youngest coach at age 36, Earl immediately grabs the attention of vets (because he is one himself, in a way), connecting with former teammates while embracing peers he battled for 13 years
  • “Player’s Coach”: By most accounts, Watson works very well with young talent, which Phoenix has a ton of. The case of Archie Goodwin is a nice indicator of such:

Goodwin went from being buried on the pine to potential keeper after Hornacek was fired in early February. Coach Watson gave Archie extended minutes, resulting in a 15-point scoring average that month, including a game-winning triple that downed the Hawks.

However, inconsistency and a lack of commitment to defense gave Watson impetus to bench Goodwin (for the majority of March) in an effort to make him value PT and learn to sacrifice for the team. And in April, Goodwin’s minutes ramped back up, he shot well (47%) and reached double-digit scoring (11.2 points/game).

While all of the credit won’t go to Watson, he directly (or indirectly) influenced Archie’s production and helped restore a bit of confidence.

With Devin Booker emerging as a star, the return of Eric Bledsoe and a potential top-3 pick, Phoenix’s future burns bright.

And so far, Earl Watson looks like the right man to lead the way.


-Jabari J.

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